Managing chemical substances

To ensure the safety of products and production processes in the Asahi Kasei Group, we maintain awareness of the properties of the chemical substances we use, and manage them strictly and appropriately throughout each phase, from materials procurement to production, use, and disposal.

The Asahi Kasei Group's effort

Strict management and control of chemical substances is a key element in the effort to ensure environmental protection, operational safety, workplace safety and hygiene, health maintenance, and product safety. Chemical substances are managed at each stage from development to use and disposal, as shown below.

Chemical substance management flow
Chemical substance management flow

Materials purchase

When purchasing materials, information related to the safety of chemical substances is received from the supplier. This information serves as a guide to safe storage and handling.

Production

The safety of the local community and the protection of the environment are secured by proper handling of chemical substances, including intermediates, to suppress environmental release (see Environmental protection) and to prevent fires, explosions, and leaks (see Operational safety). The health of employees is protected by performing sound risk assessment for chemical substances and preventing workplace exposure to hazardous substances.

Use and disposal

Guidance for proper use and disposal of chemical substances and chemical products is provided in Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), technical bulletins, and product brochures. Transport Emergency Cards are issued to guide the proper environmental and safety response in the event of an accident during physical distribution.

Research and development, education and training

Education on management of chemical substances at the former Asahi Kasei Chemicals
Education on the Chemical Substance Control Law at the former Asahi Kasei Chemicals

The management of chemical substances begins with R&D, which is guided throughout every stage by a commitment to developing products and process characterized by safe, environmentally sound production, handling, and use.

The Asahi Kasei Group conducts extensive education and training for all personnel in research, manufacturing, and sales, to share information on the latest chemical regulations* both in Japan and overseas and study how to respond to them, and to introduce the latest chemical management subjects.

Global trends on management of chemical substances

The Asahi Kasei Group is enhancing the management of chemical substances in accordance with relevant global trends. Many international organizations and private-sector associations are promoting chemical management based on risk assessment and advancing product stewardship in supply chains.

Developments in management of chemical substances
Developments in management of chemical substances

Committing to the RC Global Charter

On May 30, 2008, the President of Asahi Kasei Corp. signed a letter of commitment to the Responsible Care Global Charter (RCGC) on behalf of the Asahi Kasei Group, indicating our recognition of the importance of RC and especially chemical substance control. The RCGC was launched by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) with a UN resolution. When the RC Global Charter was amended in 2014, the President of Asahi Kasei Corp. again signed it on November 19, 2014.

Industry-wide initiatives

Japan Initiative of Product Stewardship

The Japan Initiative of Product Stewardship (JIPS)* is a voluntary program by the JCIA to promote voluntary risk assessment and management of chemical substances, and to encourage enhanced product stewardship. In fiscal 2015, Asahi Kasei continued its active involvement in the JIPS Implementation Panel, supporting efforts to communicate information and taking part in activities in accordance with the panel's schedule.

Going forward, we will apply our guidance-based risk assessment work within the Asahi Kasei Group to promote further disclosures of risk assessments and safety summaries as we advance full-scale implementation. Through our involvement in JIPS activities, we will share information both internally and externally on the Asahi Kasei Group's chemical management activities, contributing to environmental protection.

Globally Harmonized System (GHS)*

We are advancing a program to classify the hazards of all of our chemical products in accordance with GHS categories, and revise our SDSs and label our products with safety information accordingly.

REACH compliance1

Relevant business units conduct internal education and training on REACH requirements and periodically hold meetings among related parties. We are making preparations to register chemical substances imported into the EU in annual quantities of 1–100 tons. To fulfil our obligations related to SVHC2 which include transmission of information, we gather information on chemical substances that are newly added as candidates for authorized regulation, and provide it to the users who request it. At the same time, we continue to move forward with preparations for CLP regulations3.

Joint Article Management Program (JAMP)

As an active member of JAMP, we participate in the development of systems to manage chemical substance information as well as revision of the list of applicable substances. As an upstream company, we also convey relevant information throughout the supply chain to help establish JAMP as a widely used tool. In fiscal 2015, we continued to provide JAMP Tools via the JAMP-IT platform to convey relevant information on hazardous chemicals and share information externally.

As a major upstream company, we will continue to work with the JAMP Office toward the greater adoption of the JAMP-IT platform as a means of information sharing. In fiscal 2015, we also took part in verification of information transmission tools for a new scheme called “chemSHERPA” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and actively participated in detailed discussions about the new tools and the list of chemical substances. We are also working on the transition process from the current JAMP scheme to chemSHERPA which is being performed over two years from fiscal 2016.

Outline of efforts for chemical substance management

The Asahi Kasei Group routinely performs employee education on product liability, chemical product safety, and equipment safety, along with risk assessment. We have revised our SDSs for compatibility with GHS and have labeled our chemical products to make safety information more visible.